New Orleans I’m never sure exactly the criteria or metrics that conservatives use when they describe a corporation as being “woke,” but I’m pretty sure it must be one of those things like some of the court decisions on pornography, where they know it, when they see it. I’m also pretty confident that there is no official “woke” handbook for any of us to consult so that we can determine where we are on the “woke” spectrum. There is one thing I’m very certain of, though: there’s really no such thing as a “woke” corporation.
Yes, I realize that statement may even be against the law, if I’d said it in Florida, but regardless of Governor DeSantis’ ambition, his jurisdiction doesn’t quite extend this far, at least not yet. The whole concept of declaring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and the Disney crowd “woke” just seems goofy. The Louisiana legislature is trying to copy as much of the Florida legislative program as they can. Soon, they will probably be coming after the giant oil company Chevron as way too “woke,” especially when they read the company’s annual report, as I have. My father worked for the company for 38 years, while we lived in Wyoming, Colorado, Kentucky, and finally Louisiana. A half-dozen of those years were in company camps in the West, where my brother and I were born. All of which means that I keep an eye on them.
Their latest proxy statement and annual report goes out of its way to claim “wokeness” saying, “The Board seeks to achieve diversity of age, gender, and race/ethnicity and recognizes the importance of Board refreshment to ensure that it benefits from fresh ideas and perspectives.” Don’t ask me who might have coined the term “Board refreshment”, but we hope they aren’t talking about an open bar after the gavel sounds. Chevron offers a chart that says 58% of their board is “diverse,” 50% are women, 25% are of color, and 92% of them are independent. Independent doesn’t by any mean that they are unpaid, it only means that they are not direct company employees. Furthermore, they tout the fact that 67% of their directors elected in the last five years are diverse, meaning, I assume, that they just “woke” up recently. 50% of their committees are chaired by women, 50% of committees are chaired by racially/ethnically diverse directors, and 75% of committees are chaired by diverse directors. There must be a backstory here, because Chevron is clearly trying to qualify for the woke world series.
Chevron is also, by their lights, not only a woke company, but an environmental company. Its strategy is filled with green buzzwords. They want “to lead in lower carbon intensity oil, products and natural gas, as well as advance new products and solutions that reduce carbon emissions of major industries.” Furthermore, you can count on Chevron to “lower the carbon intensity of our operations and grow new carbon businesses in renewable fuels, hydrogen, carbon capture, offsets and other emerging technologies.” I’m pretty much clueless what exactly they define as “carbon intensity” or how that doesn’t contradict environmentally with “new carbon businesses.”
There’s no question that Chevron is now claiming to be greener than green at the same time they are woke through and through. Maybe the Louisiana legislature will look the other way and let them get away with this, especially since a bigger hunk of the state budget depends on revenue from oil and gas than Florida depends on the Mouseketeers. But, if you really buy their story that they are all about diversity and the environment, as much as I would love to believe it, there’s a bridge across the Mississippi River in New Orleans that I would love to sell you.